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Cuba or Colombia in March

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Re: Cuba or Colombia in March

Postby Flyboy » Tue Mar 05, 2019 5:44 pm

I am not an expert by any means ... but I just spent a month in Cabarete (& have spent over 6 months there over the past 12 years) & I noticed that the forecasts are pretty accurate. The basic pattern is that good wind comes with a consistent trade wind flowing from the Azores to the Caribbean due to a pressure gradient. In the winter the trade wind is disrupted by strong cold fronts from the north. These fronts penetrate as far as Cuba & the Yucatan. They may bring good winds temporarily, but they interrupt the easterly trades. The Dominican Republic & Puerto Rico are also effected by the cold fronts - it doesn't generally get "cold", but it does disrupt the trade winds. The further south/east you go in the Caribbean, the less this happens. In the summer the cold fronts do not effect the trades, so the wind is generally more consistent/stronger.

My experience in Cabarete over the last 12 years or so, is that it has been windy (let's say 14 kts or above) about 80%-90% of the time. An average winter day is about 14 - 18 knots, a good winter day is 16 - 22 knots. According to Stefan (who records the wind stats in Cabarete), the wind has been much more consistent over the last 12 years than over previous years. My own experience has been that the wind forecasts are surprisingly accurate (although not 100%). The thermal effect in Cabarete means unless the trade wind is entirely shut down, the winds in Cabarete will always hit 12 knots + for at least a couple of hours in the afternoon.

If it IS actually windy, Cay Coco/Guillermo is definitely a more beginner-friendly spot than Cabarete.

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Re: Cuba or Colombia in March

Postby CorradoWest » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:09 pm

+1 for Cartagena. I was there last month and although I didn't get to kite, there was enough wind for people to kite 4 of the 6 days I was there.
As Toby mentioned, check by Las Americas hotel. The one day I was free of obligations and able to try and Kite I headed down to that beach and spoke with the guy who runs the rental/lessons shop on the beach. Unfortunately he said that all of his gear was rented out and to check back with him the next day. So take your own gear or line up a couple of rental options. I will say that the Restaurante Bar El Muelle that sits on that beach is a great place to have a cold beer and people watch. They also serve up an amazing seafood stew (and red snapper plate).

We stayed at the Hyatt up the street and it was only $6 for a cab ride each way.
Old town is really cool.
The food in Colombia is amazing!
I wold love to return.
Good luck!

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Re: Cuba or Colombia in March

Postby hookedcook » Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:58 am

Depending on money, Grand Cayman is a windy overlooked spot. I work on yachts and spent a month there last year March/ April, just got back from 3 weeks working there this year. Got to sneak away a couple of times but stuck working mostly. It's a cool island , lots of steady wind, but not Cuba, Cabarete, Cartegana cheap. If you have a wife/ girlfriend this is a middle road

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Re: Cuba or Colombia in March

Postby alexeyga » Thu Mar 07, 2019 7:01 pm

dirtybeach wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 4:28 pm
I’m going to disagree with the Cuba low wind comments.
You were lucky.

I've been visiting Cuba 1-2X per year since 2007:
-Only once we had a true 7 out of 7 - "can't kite anymore by day 3" kind of trips
-Everything else was always hit and miss averaging 2-3 days out of 7 of ridable (12m kite at biggest) wind.
-In all these years - I've got to use my 9m at least once on whopping 3 trips! One of these was a rain front passing through...
-This past December we had the worst trip to this date, 1 1/2 days of barely 12m-worthy wind, and about 2 hours worth of being well-powered with the same 12m. This is it. And we were lucky, during our stay there were people heading back to the airport with 7 out of 7 of absolute nothing.

To be perfectly clear - my understanding of "ridable" is when my 90kg are standing on a 137cm TT with a 12m kite and I can send the crap out of it. Foil-jerking doesn't pass for "ridable".

This was my last trip to Cuba with tickets purchased more than 2 days in advance. If ever I will return - it would be with a very specific forecast no further than 2 days away.
Last edited by alexeyga on Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cuba or Colombia in March

Postby Flyboy » Thu Mar 07, 2019 7:33 pm

alexeyga wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 7:01 pm
dirtybeach wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 4:28 pm
I’m going to disagree with the Cuba low wind comments.
You were lucky.

I've been visiting Cuba 1-2X per year since 2007:
-Only once we had a true 7 out of 7 - "can't kite anymore by day 3" kind of trips
-Everything else was always hit and miss averaging 2-3 days out of 7 of ridable (12m kite at biggest) wind.
-In all these years - I've got to use my 9m at least once on whopping 3 trips! One of these was a rain front passing through...
-This past December we had the worst trip to this date, 1 1/2 days of barely 12m-worthy wind, and about 2 hours worth of being well-powered with the same 12m. This is it. And we were lucky, during our stay there were people heading back to the airport with 7 out of 7 of absolute nothing.

To be perfectly clear - my understanding of "ridable" is when my 90kg are standing on a 137cm TT with a 12m kite and I can send the crap out of it. Foil-jerking doesn't pass for "ridable".

This was my last trip to Cuba with tickets purchased more than 2 days in advance. I ever I will return - it would be with a very specific forecast no further than 2 days away.
In contrast, in my month in Cabarete from Dec 20th - to Jan 21st there were 26 kiting days out of 32. 16 of those on a 9m or 8m kite (on a SB), upper teens to low 20 knots - you might have been on a 12m, but fully powered up. The other days I was on an 11m, winds mid teens to high teens.

I believe the difference is that over the same period the trade wind was often diverted from Cuba by cold fronts. In addition, Cabarete is effected by a reliable local thermal which bumps up the basic trade by 4 or 5 knots. Buen Hombre, about 100 kms further west gets a stronger thermal effect with the wind typically being 5 knots, or more, stronger than at Cabarete.

I believe that basic wind pattern to look for is a solid trade wind flow - if that is firing, it is likely that everywhere in the Caribbean will be somewhat windy, with variations due to local factors.

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Re: Cuba or Colombia in March

Postby alexeyga » Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:45 pm

Flyboy wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 7:33 pm

In contrast, in my month in Cabarete from Dec 20th - to Jan 21st there were 26 kiting days out of 32. 16 of those on a 9m or 8m kite (on a SB), upper teens to low 20 knots - you might have been on a 12m, but fully powered up. The other days I was on an 11m, winds mid teens to high teens.

I believe the difference is that over the same period the trade wind was often diverted from Cuba by cold fronts. In addition, Cabarete is effected by a reliable local thermal which bumps up the basic trade by 4 or 5 knots. Buen Hombre, about 100 kms further west gets a stronger thermal effect with the wind typically being 5 knots, or more, stronger than at Cabarete.

I believe that basic wind pattern to look for is a solid trade wind flow - if that is firing, it is likely that everywhere in the Caribbean will be somewhat windy, with variations due to local factors.
a) If I could take a month off to go kite - trust me, nor Cuba or Cabarete would be on my maps. Colombia - actually - is more likely.
b) Let me remind you that this topic was about Cuba VS Columbia to begin with...
c) Statistically speaking - Cabarete in winter is just as much of a hit and miss as Cuba. Your experience might vary, but I've heard too many stories from these who went to Cabarete during winter months and who were riding 7 days non stop... on a 17m kite!!! The real wind season in DR is around June and July when people are mostly on 9 and 7m gear.
d) Nor Cabarete or Buen Hombre are exactly beginners-friendly. In that regards Cuban spots like Guillermo are unbeatable.

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Re: Cuba or Colombia in March

Postby Flyboy » Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:12 pm

alexeyga wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:45 pm
Flyboy wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 7:33 pm

In contrast, in my month in Cabarete from Dec 20th - to Jan 21st there were 26 kiting days out of 32. 16 of those on a 9m or 8m kite (on a SB), upper teens to low 20 knots - you might have been on a 12m, but fully powered up. The other days I was on an 11m, winds mid teens to high teens.

I believe the difference is that over the same period the trade wind was often diverted from Cuba by cold fronts. In addition, Cabarete is effected by a reliable local thermal which bumps up the basic trade by 4 or 5 knots. Buen Hombre, about 100 kms further west gets a stronger thermal effect with the wind typically being 5 knots, or more, stronger than at Cabarete.

I believe that basic wind pattern to look for is a solid trade wind flow - if that is firing, it is likely that everywhere in the Caribbean will be somewhat windy, with variations due to local factors.
a) If I could take a month off to go kite - trust me, nor Cuba or Cabarete would be on my maps. Colombia - actually - is more likely.
b) Let me remind you that this topic was about Cuba VS Columbia to begin with...
c) Statistically speaking - Cabarete in winter is just as much of a hit and miss as Cuba. Your experience might vary, but I've heard too many stories from these who went to Cabarete during winter months and who were riding 7 days non stop... on a 17m kite!!! The real wind season in DR is around June and July when people are mostly on 9 and 7m gear.
d) Nor Cabarete or Buen Hombre are exactly beginners-friendly. In that regards Cuban spots like Guillermo are unbeatable.
My point was really only about the wind: the wind in Cabarete in the winter is different from the wind in Cuba because of the position relative to the trade flow & the northerly frontals. I've been going to Cabarete regularly since 1987. In the last 12 years I have spent about 7 months cumulatively in Cabarete in Dec/Jan. Overall, I've experienced wind at least 80% of the days. As I mentioned, in conversation with Stefan, has recorded the wind readings over the years, he told me that it is now much more consistently windy in Dec/Jan than it used to be. Who knows why?

As you know, you can experience a bad week of wind anywhere. One of my friends came to Cabarete for a week this January ... precisely during the 5 days of no wind. :( I wouldn't choose Cuba because of the general unreliability of wind. I am planning on going to Colombia next winter, the area to the NE of Cartagena (like Santa Veronica) appears to be VERY consistently windy at that time of year. However, not sure it really qualifies as a beginner spot either. Buen Hombre would be a great spot for a beginner, I think, as it has shallow water. A bit remote though if you have non-kiting companions.

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Re: Cuba or Colombia in March

Postby alexeyga » Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:22 pm

Flyboy wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:12 pm
My point was really only about the wind: the wind in Cabarete in the winter is different from the wind in Cuba because of the position relative to the trade flow & the northerly frontals. I've been going to Cabarete regularly since 1987. In the last 12 years I have spent about 7 months cumulatively in Cabarete in Dec/Jan. Overall, I've experienced wind at least 80% of the days. As I mentioned, in conversation with Stefan, has recorded the wind readings over the years, he told me that it is now much more consistently windy in Dec/Jan than it used to be. Who knows why?

As you know, you can experience a bad week of wind anywhere. One of my friends came to Cabarete for a week this January ... precisely during the 5 days of no wind. :( I wouldn't choose Cuba because of the general unreliability of wind. I am planning on going to Colombia next winter, the area to the NE of Cartagena (like Santa Veronica) appears to be VERY consistently windy at that time of year. However, not sure it really qualifies as a beginner spot either. Buen Hombre would be a great spot for a beginner, I think, as it has shallow water. A bit remote though if you have non-kiting companions.
Yep, I've just checked the stats for this year. It really looks like Cab has been blasting very consistently lately and it really is windier than Cuba - up until beginning of February/end of January when there are rows of days in low-10s at most. What can I say - wish I was there... :cry:

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Re: Cuba or Colombia in March

Postby Flyboy » Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:00 pm

alexeyga wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:22 pm
Flyboy wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:12 pm
My point was really only about the wind: the wind in Cabarete in the winter is different from the wind in Cuba because of the position relative to the trade flow & the northerly frontals. I've been going to Cabarete regularly since 1987. In the last 12 years I have spent about 7 months cumulatively in Cabarete in Dec/Jan. Overall, I've experienced wind at least 80% of the days. As I mentioned, in conversation with Stefan, has recorded the wind readings over the years, he told me that it is now much more consistently windy in Dec/Jan than it used to be. Who knows why?

As you know, you can experience a bad week of wind anywhere. One of my friends came to Cabarete for a week this January ... precisely during the 5 days of no wind. :( I wouldn't choose Cuba because of the general unreliability of wind. I am planning on going to Colombia next winter, the area to the NE of Cartagena (like Santa Veronica) appears to be VERY consistently windy at that time of year. However, not sure it really qualifies as a beginner spot either. Buen Hombre would be a great spot for a beginner, I think, as it has shallow water. A bit remote though if you have non-kiting companions.
Yep, I've just checked the stats for this year. It really looks like Cab has been blasting very consistently lately and it really is windier than Cuba - up until beginning of February/end of January when there are rows of days in low-10s at most. What can I say - wish I was there... :cry:
Yeah - but it hasn't just been Cabarete. I have the sense that Dec/Jan was good through most of the Caribbean. It looks like it was very windy in Barbados, the Windward Islands, the Antilles, Venezuela/Colombia etc. Windier, in general, than Cabarete. The place that hasn't benefited from this is Cuba ... because Cuba doesn't get reliable trade winds in the winter months.

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Re: Cuba or Colombia in March

Postby TangTonic » Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:12 pm

Yeah - but it hasn't just been Cabarete. I have the sense that Dec/Jan was good through most of the Caribbean. It looks like it was very windy in Barbados, the Windward Islands, the Antilles, Venezuela/Colombia etc. Windier, in general, than Cabarete. The place that hasn't benefited from this is Cuba ... because Cuba doesn't get reliable trade winds in the winter months.

Wrong, we have had a terrible winter season. Many light wind days.


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